By Eva Schiller ’21
On November 21, students and faculty members took a break from their busy school day to enjoy the Buttondowns Assembly, a highly anticipated annual event presented by the Buttondowns, Pingry’s all-male acapella group led by president Jonathan Huang (VI).
The annual Buttondowns movie opened the show. It was filmed by Ian Dugan (V) and sparked the laughter of many students. The movie’s theme was inspired by Agatha Christie’s famous murder mystery, And Then There Were None. In the movie, the Buttondowns are eliminated one by one, starting with the freshmen. In a twist ending, it was revealed that the freshmen are the murderers, with the moral being to “never mess with freshmen.”
The movie ended with the tradition of the Buttondowns entering Hauser Auditorium to the song, “We Will Rock You,” dressed in the their recognizable outfits: khakis and white button-down shirts. They then began singing.
The first song they performed was “Sunday Candy” by Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment, a popular group which features Chance the Rapper. The Buttondowns’ rendition featured soloists Nolan Baynes (III) and James Wang (IV).
“This solo was a perfect fit for me because ‘Sunday Candy’ is one of my favorite songs,” said Baynes, “and to perform it with one of my friends since sixth grade, James Wang, is a dream come true.” This song, along with others, was even more memorable as the soloists interacted with the audience, occasionally kneeling down and serenading audience members in aisle seats.
The next song was “Give Me Love” by Ed Sheeran, with soloists Ore Shote (III) and Jared Tiggs (VI). “Looking back on the assembly, there are things I would have done differently, but I think that everything went better than was planned,” said Shote of the performance.
“Give Me Love” was followed by “Just the Way You Are” by Billy Joel, with soloists Rajeev Doraswamy (V) and Ian Dugan (V). After the song, the Buttondowns underclassmen thanked president Jonathan Huang for his contributions to the group. Huang soloed in the final song, “The Death of a Bachelor” by Panic! At the Disco, to end the assembly.
Reminiscing on his years as a Buttondown, Huang had much to say. After the assembly, he said, “As far as today’s performance, I went through many different emotions. I felt a rush of excitement running onto stage, and it was bittersweet singing the last lines of ‘Death of a Bachelor.’ To the Pingry community: Thank you for being a part of my most special moments at Pingry. I love all of you.”
Huang also thanked Dr. Moore “for being the backbone of the group. None of the music would have been made without his endless guidance and support.”
He also noted that “The time Ian Dugan spent on shooting and editing the movie is unbelievable, and I am very grateful for his amazing work.”
The Buttondowns received fullhearted support and positive feedback from the Pingry community both during and after their performance. “The audience was incredible, and all the Buttondowns felt wonderful hearing the applause and kind words after the performance,” said Huang.